Industry Faces Limited Tariff Relief Following Signing of the ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal with China

January 15, 2020 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association President and CEO Steve Lamar expressed disappointment that the ‘Phase One’ trade deal signed with China earlier today contains limited tariff relief for U.S. companies and consumers. Reiterating that all products hit with punitive tariffs during the Trump administration’s trade war with China will continue to be penalized following the implementation of the deal, Lamar also highlighted industry concern with the use of tariffs as an enforcement mechanism.
“This deal provides the apparel and footwear industry with very limited tariff relief following the biggest tariff increase since the Great Depression,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “All of our products that have been hurt by this trade war will continue to be hit – including 92 percent of the apparel, 53 percent of the footwear, 68 percent of the home textiles, and all of the travel goods and accessories that are imported from China, which is the primary source of these products. These tariffs are a huge tax on our industry, directly impacting our four million American workers and each and every American family. The administration is literally taxing Americans to get dressed every morning, and promising to do that for the foreseeable future.
“Further, the deal does little to help American manufacturers in our industry. Not only does this deal leave in place tariffs on key imports of materials and machinery used to make clothing, footwear, and textiles in the U.S., but it also allows China to keep in place huge retaliatory tariffs on American exports of cotton, hides, leather, textiles, shoes, and clothing.

"Equally concerning is the prospect that tariffs will be used as an enforcement mechanism, which could lead to new tariffs at any time. We do not see taxing American citizens as an effective way to change the policies and practices in China.

"Trade deals are a great way to extend American values and export opportunities around the world, and we are pleased that the administration has embedded some of these provisions, including measures to fight counterfeits on eCommerce sites, in this agreement. But those deals should not perpetuate high taxes on American companies and consumers."